IM this article to a friend!

May 19, 2005

Vandals go on wrecking spree at deaf charity the day after reopening event

From: News & Star, UK - May 19, 2005

By Nick Griffiths

VANDALS caused thousands of pounds of damage while stealing donated cash during a midnight raid on a newly-refurbished Carlisle charity office.

The thieves went on a wrecking spree at the city headquarters of Cumbria Deaf Association, which has just undergone a £40,000 makeover.

They broke into the Compton Street building after smashing a window before using a metal fire extinguisher to break down 10 internal doors. Once inside, they forced open drawers, cupboards and filing cabinets in search of valuables.

The thieves eventually managed to get into an office safe and stole £400 in pound coins and notes, which was donated to help people with hearing difficulties.

The break-in, at about midnight on Monday, came after an open event was held on Sunday to reveal the results of the refurbishment, which involved redecorating and re-carpeting.

Two days after showing off their new offices, staff arrived on Tuesday morning to find their workplace ransacked.

Ian Douglas, support services manager, said: "It is hugely disappointing that they would target someone like us. We are insured, but now we will have to pay excess, which we would rather be spending on providing a service for people with hearing difficulties.

"The day before was just an ordinary day. We locked up as usual. Then on Tuesday the first member of staff came in and saw the fire extinguisher lying there.

"Stuff was just strewn everywhere. They smashed up heavy-duty fire doors. The cost of 10 of those is going to run into thousands of pounds."

Police said investigations were underway and appealed for anybody with information to contact them on 01228 528191.

Cumbria Deaf Association, which also has offices in Whitehaven, provides services including sign-language training for parents of deaf children, technical equipment and advice and support for those with a hearing impairment.

© 2005 News & Star